— The Erimtan Angle —

Iran has been threatened with new EU sanctions, and in response Tehran has suspended the sale of oil to Britain and France. But, according to Press TV this is just the beginning: ‘Iran has cut its oil flow to British and French companies, in response to the unilateral sanctions on the country’s oil exports, on the pretext of concerns over its peaceful nuclear program. Interview with columnist and commentator, Nader Mokhtari (20 Feb 2012)’.

The IAEA has sent a delegation to Iran and Istanbul has been set as the venue for new negotiations regarding Tehran’s nuclear programme: a ‘team of five United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in Tehran a day after Iran cut off oil exports to Britain and France. A spokesman from Iran’s Oil Ministry, Ali Reza Nikad-Rahbar, said the move was part of punitive measures that will be employed against “hostile” European countries that have complied with sanctions. European countries make up about 18 percent of imports of Iranian crude oil, and have collectively agreed to an oil embargo set to begin in the summer. The trip for the team of U.N. inspectors has been the second in a month during efforts to revive talks that collapsed in Istanbul a year ago. They come at a time of heightened tensions over concerns that Iran’s nuclear program, which the country maintains is for peaceful purposes, is instead aimed at nuclear weapons development. Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made an appearance on state television announcing progress in the program, increasing the amount of centrifuges and inserting nationally made fuel rods. Meanwhile, the United States has initiated escalating sanctions and not ruled out a military strike on Iran if concerns over the nuclear program are not allayed’, as can be read in the respectable Foreign Policy.[1]  The Turkish daily Hürriyet Daily News, on the other hand, reports that “Iran announces that Istanbul will host expected nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 but there is no confirmation on the Turkish side, which previously feared that Tehran might use the talks to parry the West. The next round of talks between Iran and six world powers on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program will be held in Istanbul, Iran’s foreign minister said yesterday [, Sunday, 19 February] in Tehran, the Associated Press reported. According to the semi-official Iranian Mehr news agency, Iran proposed Istanbul as the venue of talks in Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili’s letter to EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton. The agency added that this proposal had been accepted by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ashton, who represents the P5+1 group consisting of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany”.[2]

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said “In these negotiations we are looking for a way out of Iran’s current nuclear issues so that both sides win”.[3]  Unfortunately, a win-win situation is not exactly what Bibi is looking for . . .

 

 


[1] Mary Casey, Tom Kutsch, “IAEA inspectors arrive in Tehran in effort to revive nuclear talks” Foreign Policy (20 February 2012). http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/02/20/iaea_inspectors_arrive_in_tehran_in_efforts_to_revive_nuclear_talks.

[2] “Ankara Cautious on Hosting Iran Talks” Hürriyet Daily News (20 Feb 2012). http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/131516/ankara-cautious-on-hosting-iran-talks.html.

[3] Mary Casey, Tom Kutsch, “IAEA inspectors arrive in Tehran in effort to revive nuclear talks”.

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